By Miriam Stoppard, The UK’s most trusted childcare expert
A friend of mine is also pregnant and she told me you can help your baby to develop even before they’re born. Is this true?
Yes, your newborn baby is growing not just physically in your womb, they’re learning all the time. They’re using their developing intellect to remember games you play with them. You and your partner’s voice are imprinted in their brain before they’re born. They’ll remember songs and music you sing and play while you’re carrying them, so bonding with your bump helps your baby’s brain to grow healthily.
Research shows you can not only affect your unborn baby’s health but you can also affect their health in later life by what you eat during pregnancy.
You can even promote healthy eating habits in your child: when you’re pregnant your unborn baby “tastes” every food you eat from the fourteenth week of your pregnancy. So if you want an unfussy eater and a child who loves fruit and vegetables, eat them yourself during pregnancy – and again when you’re breastfeeding, as these flavours appear in your breast milk.
We also know that visualising you and your baby having a smooth, easy, joyful birth will help you achieve just that and recover rapidly after the birth. Rehearsing in your head how it will feel to breastfeed your baby makes for a trouble-free start in the early days.
Trusting your body and your baby gives you confidence in your own power and a feeling of control. This in itself helps avert complications during birth and lessens postnatal depression.
Such is the power of bonding with your bump.